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Apple 12-inch is not a good fit

August 3, 2020

Incidentally, I came across this post on HN. I miss the time I had a 12-inch iBook (and a Blackberry too).

Because I bought an old 12-inch iBook from 2003 that runs a long-obsolete version of Mac OS X on the steam of an 800 MHz G4 PowerPC processor. While this machine might be somewhat long-in-the-tooth, it’s surprisingly useful as a daily workhorse.

I wish I still had mine. Since I’m not so much interested in very old version of OS X, I would simply install a BSD distro (surely NetBSD or FreeBSD if that could be working), and see how things goes. Ironically, this laptop was my first move toward Macintosh stuff, after 5 years using Linux exclusively. It was a wonderful piece of technology at that time, even if it was quite thick by the current standards. I’m too lazy to search for old screenshots of my OS Desktop in 2005, but I can remember that I was running Aquamacs at that time. Intel processors were a great move, and the 32 to 64 bits transition an even bigger one, but the design of this laptop was so nice. How sad it is that we no longer have a keyboard of such quality.

My current Macbook is 4 years old and it served me well after several OS upgrades. It’s probably my preferred laptop after all those years. Surely we can argue. It has only one USB-C, and I wouldn’t mind having at least another one instead of having to buy additional dongles. However, it’s thin enough to pretend to be an iPad pro at the same time, and Apple needs to make money anyway. I don’t care. Also, it is not a beast in its category (Windows-based alternative have better specs, IMO) and it is not geared toward heavy computing of any kind. But it works great for casual stuff and lightweight programming. The retina display is gorgeous, and far better than the 1024x768 resolution you get on the iBook (without retina support of course).

I would have liked the specs to be more inflated but you have to deal with it and above all realize what this machine is made for, and above all how it can be put to good use. So you want a more comfortable desktop: just connect an external 4K monitor (sadly, I believe the 12-inch Macbook doesn’t support dual external display). Want a more powerful machine: ssh to an external server. Nowadays, I mostly use my Macbook as a proxy to other machines for heavy computational stuff, and I keep using it as a standalone laptop connected to an external monitor and a Magic Keyboard. When I’m at home, it’s just a 12-inch laptop that is able to process my emails, update this website, waste my time on the internet and have lazy programming activities using a variety of PLs.

Sadly, the 12-inch Macbook has been discontinued, like its predecessor.

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See Also

» Fresh MacBook » Before Catalina » Moom App » Enter the Fish shell » Postico App